Shortlist of 'eccentrics' for Mercury music prize

The runners and riders for the most prestigious prize in the music calendar were announced yesterday and were promptly branded a group of British eccentrics by the chairman of the judging panel.

The runners and riders for the most prestigious prize in the music calendar were announced yesterday and were promptly branded a group of British eccentrics by the chairman of the judging panel.

This year's shortlist for the Nationwide Mercury music prize includes a teenage soul singer from rural Devon, a rock band without guitars, a dance group with a punk vocalist and a rapper so anti-bling he hangs around at bus stops.

The book-maker William Hill immediately listed the bus-stop rhymer (Mike Skinner, aka The Streets) and the avant-garde Glasgow art school rockers Franz Ferdinand as the joint favourites to win.

Simon Frith, chairman of the judging panel, admitted yesterday he had been slightly concerned that the past 12 months had not produced sufficient good music to make a strong short-list. He said: "There were no obvious albums being trumpeted. But ... the pattern is that every single person on this list is sort of eccentric in certain ways. It's very British."

Mr Frith said none of the nominated artists were conventional representatives of the genres they were most closely associated with. "Although they make music that can be marketed in terms of genre, they are all doing music which would not necessarily fit that genre."

Asked about the two early favourites, Mr Frith said both had demonstrated they could bring something fresh to the type of music they make. The Streets' new album A Grand Don't Come For Free could not be categorised as "a garage or British club scene album", the references associated with Skinner's earlier work, Mr Frith said. Franz Ferdinand, he said, brought a "sensibility" to their music that has not been seen on the Mercury shortlist since the days of Pulp and Suede.

At the announcement of the shortlist, one of the nominated bands, Belle & Sebastian, recognised the role of Franz Ferdinand in developing the Glasgow music scene, which has also helped to produce a third nominee, Snow Patrol.

Stuart Murdoch, Belle & Sebastian's singer-songwriter, said: "It has been quite a good time for Glasgow. Scene is always a difficult word but, led by Franz, it has been a good scene over the past couple of years. We have been hanging around like a bad smell for years and have finally got a nomination."

Liverpool's The Zutons had been lured to the ceremony under the impression that they were headed to a recording session. The drummer, Sean Payne, said he was pleased to be "recognised" by a competition that supported "real music". "When Roni Size won [The Mercury Prize], I had never heard of him before," he said. "It gets music that's underground to be listened to more."

Alex Kapranos, singer and guitarist for Franz Ferdinand, said: "It's a real vindication for the year's hard work we have just put in."

Last year's Mercury was won by the "grimy" rapper Dizzee Rascal. This year's shortlist was chosen from 1,800 albums released in the past 12 months by British and Irish artists. But in any list of great British musical eccentrics one name was conspicuous by its absence. Morrissey has made 2004 his return year, conquering Glastonbury, curating London's Meltdown Festival and releasing the acclaimed album First of the Gang to Die. The winner will be chosen on 7 September.

IN THE RUNNING

BASEMENT JAXX, Kish Kash

Previously shortlisted for the Mercury Prize for their album Rooty, the Brixtonduo, Simon Ratcliffe and Felix Buxton, are Britain's leading dance act. Their latest album features collaborations with as diverse singers as Siouxsie Sioux, Dizzee Rascal and Me'Shell Ndegeocello.

Judges' verdict: "British dance music is alive and kicking."

BELLE & SEBASTIAN, Dear Catastrophe Waitress

Another nomination for Glasgow's thriving music scene, the seven-piece band were formed in an all-night café eight years ago. Their sixth studio album was produced by Trevor Horn, once of Buggles.

Judges' verdict: "An enchanting reminder of the romance of witty and elegant pop songs."

FRANZ FERDINAND, Franz Ferdinand

The band of 2004 so far, their much-hyped debut album has lived up to all expectations and already sold more than a million copies since its release in February. At the forefront of a revived Scottish music scene, they were one of the most successful acts at this year's Glastonbury festival.

Judges' verdict: "Art pop masterpiece."

JAMELIA, Thank You

Still only 23, Jamelia has worked hard to claim her crown as the Queen of British R&B, and still found time to have a baby. Loved by the mainstream, the Birmingham girl's second album includes work with Coldplay's Chris Martin and So Solid Crew's Asher D.

Judges' verdict: "Urban music that sparkles with unusual subtlety and depth."

KEANE, Hopes and Fears

For a rock band, Keane have an unconventional line-up of vocals, piano and drums. The East Sussex group was formed in 1997 and were on tour in America last month when they heard Hopes and Fears had gone to number one in the British charts.

Judges' verdict: "A supremely confident debut unveiling a stunning new British rock voice."

SNOW PATROL, Final Straw

Originating in Northern Ireland but based first in Dundee - where Gary Lightbody and Mark McClelland were at university - and then in Glasgow, their rise has been gradual. Final Straw is their third album.

Judges' verdict: "An album with massive presence, immediately engaging the listener in the band's emotionally-charged songs."

JOSS STONE, The Soul Sessions

The success story of the 17-year-old Devon singer goes on. Inspired by her mother's record collection, her precocious talent was moulded into a remarkable album by the producer and soul legend Betty Wright and was critically-acclaimed on both sides of the Atlantic.

Judges' verdict: "Remarkable showcase of classic soul power."

THE STREETS, A Grand Don't Come For Free

Mike Skinner is set for the top with his single "Dry Your Eyes". His first album, Original Pirate Material, was Mercury-shortlisted in 2002 but his follow-up made him a spokesman for his generation.

Judges' verdict: "A touching, funny and gripping story of life's frustrations in modern Britain."

TY, Upwards

Star of the Montreux festival in Switzerland, London rapper Ty is building a European fanbase before taking on America. A great live performer. His second album is on the same Big Dada label that produced another Mercury shortlisted rhymer Roots Manuva.

Judges' verdict: "A very British rap record - diverse and invigoratingly upbeat."

AMY WINEHOUSE, Frank

Feisty North Londoner Winehouse, 20, has an extraordinary vocal range. Her debut album is inspired by soul and jazz greats and captures the flavour of urban Britain. The track "Stronger Than Me" won her an Ivor Novello award for best contemporary songwriter.

Judges' verdict: "Raw emotions and an original take on jazz and R&B."

ROBERT WYATT, Cuckooland

Having hit fame with Soft Machine in the late Sixties, Wyatt, 59, has worked with Brian Eno, Elvis Costello and Paul Weller over 50 years. His album is his first in six years, with elements of jazz, folk and pop.

Judges' verdict: "Robert Wyatt's take on the world is gloriously idiosyncratic, passionate, gentle and inspiring."

THE ZUTONS, Who Killed... The Zutons

New stars of the Liverpool scene, the five-piece are two years old but have played Glastonbury and T in the Park. Influenced by Sly and The Family Stone and Devo, their producer is Ian Broudie of Lightning Seeds fame.

Judges' verdict: "Welcome to the exhilarating and spiky world of The Zutons, [with] catchy songs, primal guitars and saxophone."

Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Public Service Broadcasting are going it alone
music
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne as transgender artist Lili Elbe in The Danish Girl

First look at Oscar winner as transgender artistfilm
Arts and Entertainment

Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscar nominations are due to be announced today

Oscars 2015 Bringing you all the news from the 87th Academy Awards

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Lloyd-Hughes takes the leading role as Ralph Whelan in Channel 4's epic new 10-part drama, Indian Summers

TV Review

The intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Segal and Cameron Diaz star in Sex Tape

Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscars ceremony 2015 will take place at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles
Oscars 2015A quiz to whet your appetite for tonight’s 87th Academy Awards
Arts and Entertainment
Sigourney Weaver, as Ripley, in Alien; critics have branded the naming of action movie network Movies4Men as “offensive” and “demographic box-ticking gone mad”.
TVNaming of action movie network Movies4Men sparks outrage
Arts and Entertainment
Sleater Kinney perform at the 6 Music Festival at the O2 Academy, Newcastle
musicReview: 6 Music Festival
Arts and Entertainment
Sleater Kinney perform at the 6 Music Festival at the O2 Academy, Newcastle
musicReview: 6 Music Festival
News
Kristen Stewart reacts after receiving the Best Actress in a Supporting Role award for her role in 'Sils Maria' at the 40th annual Cesar awards
people
News
A lost Sherlock Holmes story has been unearthed
arts + ents Walter Elliot, an 80-year-old historian, found it in his attic,
Arts and Entertainment
Margot Robbie rose to fame starring alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street

Film Hollywood's new leading lady talks about her Ramsay Street days

Arts and Entertainment
Right note: Sam Haywood with Simon Usborne page turning
musicSimon Usborne discovers it is under threat from the accursed iPad
Arts and Entertainment
A life-size sculpture by Nick Reynolds depicting singer Pete Doherty on a crucifix hangs in St Marylebone church
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Escalating tension: Tang Wei and Chris Hemsworth in ‘Blackhat’
filmReview: Chris Hemsworth stars as a convicted hacker in Blackhat
Arts and Entertainment

Oscar voter speaks out

film
Arts and Entertainment
The Oscars race for Best Picture will be the battle between Boyhood and Birdman

Oscars
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Boleyn (Claire Foy), Thomas Cromwell (Mark Rylance)
tvReview: Wolf Hall
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Meighan of Kasabian collects the Best Album Award
music
Arts and Entertainment
Best supporting stylist: the late L’Wren Scott dressed Nicole Kidman in 1997
film
Arts and Entertainment
Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan as Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey

Film

Arts and Entertainment
Mick Carter (Danny Dyer) and Peggy Mitchell (Barbara Windsor)
tv occurred in the crucial final scene
Arts and Entertainment
Glasgow wanted to demolish its Red Road flats last year
architecture
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

    Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

    Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
    How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

    Time to play God

    Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
    MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

    MacGyver returns, but with a difference

    Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
    Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

    Tunnel renaissance

    Why cities are hiding roads underground
    'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

    Boys to men

    The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
    Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

    Crufts 2015

    Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
    10 best projectors

    How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

    Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
    Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

    Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

    Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
    Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

    Monaco: the making of Wenger

    Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

    Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

    Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

    This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
    'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

    Homage or plagiarism?

    'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
    Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower